Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 22
The country is over the moon after the launch of Chandrayaan-2 mission, but the Punjab and Haryana High Court has brought the state of Punjab down to earth for its failure to provide a washroom at a public office.
Referring to the country’s mission to the moon, Justice Jitendra Chauhan of the High Court asserted that Chandrayaan-2 had been launched, but the state had yet to provide minimum basic amenities to its employees and the public.
The admonition came a petition filed against Punjab and other respondents by Manpreet Kaur through counsel Kapil Kakkar for regularising her services on the ground that she had been continuously working for more than a decade as a part-time sweeper to the satisfaction of the authorities and there was no complaint against her.
The state, among other things, claimed the sweeper was not needed as there was no toilet and washroom in the Khamanon treasury office.
Slapping a cost of Rs 25,000 on the state and other respondents for the frivolous and totally unacceptable plea, Justice Chauhan asserted: “In the 21st century when Chandrayaan-2 Mission has been successfully launched, the obsolete plea that there is no toilet/bathroom in the Treasury Office, Khamanon, projects the state in a bad light. Not only injustice is being done to the petitioner alone, the state is not fair to its other employees as well. It has not discharged its duties in providing minimum basic amenities to its employees and the members of the public who visit the office to avail the services provided by the department”.
Justice Chauhan set a six-month deadline for the Punjab Chief Secretary to take remedial measures and ensure provision of basic amenities for the employees and the people. Directing that the order’s copy be sent to the Chief Secretary, Justice Chauhan added the officer would ensure that these facilities were created expeditiously, preferably within six months, by making appropriate provisions either in the existing schemes or by launching a special drive.
He was also directed to consider the case of the identically placed sweepers for regularisation of services.
Allowing the petition, Justice Chauhan said the petitioner’s right to earn could not be taken away by the state perceived as a model employer.
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